The Talmud teaches that one should recite one hundred blessings a day, which is a lot of blessings! We recite a blessing upon waking up in the morning to thank God for waking us. We proceed to recite further blessings on understanding the difference between day and night, for the gift of sight, the ability to sit up and stand up, to walk, on our clothing when getting dressed and more. We recite a blessing after using the facilities, before and after eating, and before performing a mitzvah such as tallis, tefillin and lighting Shabbos candles. We recite blessings in the Amidah prayer, praising God for his power, dominion and kindness, and asking for wisdom, health and redemption among many others. A Jew’s day is surrounding by blessings.
Since the blessings permeate our day, it is truly important to understand the deeper meaning of what we are doing by reciting all these blessings! We shall attempt to understand this on a couple levels of depth.
A holy man in Jerusalem once taught me the following lesson to explain the change one can affect in one’s life for the good by reciting 100 blessings a day.
Imagine that you are driving a car and it begins to rain. A drop falls onto your windshield, then another. It begins to rain harder. You see more drops. Then it begins to pour, which at that point, no drops at all can be seen; there are so many drops that all you can see is a sheet of water. You turn on the windshield wipers, and, with the passing of the wipers the sheet is momentarily wiped away and you can again see a few drops, until again it’s a sheet, until the next passing of the wipers.
The sage continued that God blesses us with so many blessings in our lives, so many “drops” of His bounty that they’re sometimes hard to notice, like the sheet of water. That we can see, breathe, hear, digest, a roof over our heads and food to eat, clothing to wear, etc., etc. We are so surrounded by these blessings that we don’t even notice them. The blessings, by which we thank the Almighty for the large and small necessities and pleasures in life, are like the windshield wiper; we momentarily ignore the many blessings in our lives and focus on one drop.
The rabbi concluded that by focusing on one “drop” 100 times a day we accustom ourselves to continually focus on the many “drops”, and, with time, they never again create a “sheet of water” in which we don’t recognize our blessings. A person who truly notices the myriad blessings in his or her live will be in a constant state of joy and ecstasy, continually appreciating the little gifts God bestows upon us every day.
This is one level of understanding blessings, that of the appreciation of each and every gift we receive.
Rabbi Yerachmiel Fried